Sunday 22 July 2012

July Photography Walk Northampton and Lamport Station

It was another rainy day

the clouds were ominous

the vegetation

lush, green and rain spangled.

Not the most photogenic sky

but a great day to road test wellington boots

and watch the rain making ripples in muddy puddles.

We had a wonderful time exploring the countryside

looking at the Evening Primrose and Thistles

growing wild on the railway embankment.

We found another signal box

and plenty of interesting rolling stock.

In spite of the rain there was still

 much colour to be seen.

We didn't forget to.....

before we reached the bridge on our return journey.

Slug by special request from the children!

The full set of the photographs from the walk can be viewed on the Flickr Set here where you can enjoy many of the textures and colours found on the engines and rolling stock in and around the station of the Northampton & Lamport Railway

Thursday 19 July 2012

July Brampton Up-cycle and Story Telling

When you see a sign that says Beware it's handy to have a Storyteller in your party.

 Luckily Carole and the children from Year 2 Priory Lower School

had Allan Davies from A Word in Edgeways in their carriage at the Northampton & Lamport Railway

He brought us tall tales and magical music.

We up-cycled empty cardboard snack boxes

creating colourful collages with tissue paper

cutout paper shapes

and glue

Having made boxes fit for treasure

we set about creating

fabric rosettes

to carry back to school.

The children said "This is the best day ever!" 

We all remembered the joy of a tale well told and a world where a cardboard box could provide scope for the imagination. The carriage may have been stationary but our minds were full of the sights, sounds, smells and textures of an old railway line which once carried people and goods through an even older landscape.

Sunday 8 July 2012

Upcycled Accessories

The range of accessories designed and made by Year 1 textile students at Tresham College, many of who participated in the New Vistas project we staged during the Big Draw last year. Inspired by the Textures set of photographs taken by artist Carole Miles along the Brampton Valley Way earlier this year.

Saturday 7 July 2012

The Best Laid Plans

There are times when plans and projects hit bumps in the road. Here you see us in March, at Brixworth Country Park, planning a Storytelling day for Beanfield Primary School as part of On the Right Track

We found a beautiful tree lined space to hear stories in, lush grass, blue sky - we were even worrying in case the children got too hot! A kind friend of Philippa's had come too, to see if we could use his portable marquees. We met a lovely Park Ranger on a small truck who was sure we'd be able to get the marquees to the space without too much trouble.

We had followed the Little Green Man Trail

Found this lovely carved sculpture

Passed by a dipping pond

Followed the curving paths 

and looked at the very distant waters of Pitsford Reservoir. We were busy discussing stories and picnics and an up-cyling activity for the day. Carole went to the office to return the permission forms only to find that none of us had enough Public Liability Insurance to enable the visit to take place. We went away dejected but determined to find a way forwards, only to discover that the school was not able to bring the children to the park as it was near water and the County Council judged it to be a Category 3 risk. To make matters even more complicated it was two days before half term and the bus would need to be booked or cancelled as we were holding the event the Tuesday after half term. The teacher Carole was liaising with wondered if we could bring the event to the school instead, but it would defeat the purpose of the project. We wanted to share the Brampton Valley Way and surrounding areas with participants.  It would have been a beautiful day, a wonderful walk with fabulous stories but alas, it was just not possible. We would have to find a different group and another setting.

Earlier in the year Carole had been back to see the textile students who had taken part in the New Vistas project and had asked them design a series of accessories inspired by a set of photographs she had taken of the textures found along the Brampton Valley Way. They created a lovely set of artefacts   using up-cycled / recycled fabrics and to thank them for their inspired designs Back To Books invited them to come on a walk, with stories and a picnic. There was good communication between all parties and Philippa and Allan came out on another planning walk.

The meeting point was where the Kelmarsh Station had once been

It was very grey and damp for June and whilst waiting for the Storytellers to arrive Carole to the opportunity to do a little more exploring.

Just beyond the bridge there is an unusual building with horses, chickens, geese and even a turkey in the yard, There are many intriguing out buildings and collections of things that may, at some time be useful. There are guard dogs who are very good at their job.

On the band above the window at the from of the house there are remnants of writing which possibly says Kelmarsh Arms 1910, but it had the look of a railway building.

Carole saw the owners and called to them to see if they could tell her more about the history of the house. They were very helpful, telling her that it had been a railway house but later it became a Public House, they thought it may have been run by the Grandmother of one of the local Farmers. They said that they had been there almost 16 years and when they bought the house it was almost derelict, the roof was gone, as were the internal fittings.

They said that the land by the road on the other side of the bridge had once been railway workers allotments. This link mentions allotments along the Kelmarsh Road near Clipston the photograph gives a very vague impression of what the land in the picture below may also have looked like.

Once Philippa and Allan arrived Carole took them to the spot she thought would be perfect for the stories and picnic, just inside the grounds of Kelmarsh Hall and close to the second of the Kelmarsh tunnels. There were picnic tables and a soft green canopy of leaves, a perfect spot for some Midsummer tales and traditions.

The group were unable to resist the lure of the tunnels themselves, the day was overcast but not particularly cold, however on approaching the second gated tunnel the temperature dropped and there was definitely a very different atmosphere. They decided to clamber up the embankment, traverse the top of the first tunnel and come back down to investigate.

There is something almost Egyptian about the shape and presence of the tunnels, the walls are still encrusted with soot, the space is dark and the surface quite badly rutted, most and ferns have made themselves at home on the ledges at the entrance.

It was tempting to make our voices as loud as possible and to stay quite close together as walking in  such a dark, dripping space was strange.

The shaft in the middle of the tunnel was a wonderful piece of engineering and although it wasn't raining water dropped on us from above

We would love to know about the rail line, it's buildings, and workers so if anyone has images or information to share, we would be delighted to hear from you!

Planning for the storytelling / picnic in The Bull at Kelmarsh

But  as with the best laid plans, unforeseen events conspired to thwart us, the students were caught up in a whirl of end of year activities and decided, two days before the event that they would not be joining us after all. Other members of Back to Books were working or on holiday so we were down to a very small group. We decided, yet again that it would be more prudent to cancel the event and are hugely grateful to the wonderful Word In Edgeways team for bring so understanding. It was very disappointing but possibly a blessing in disguise as the heavens opened on the Thursday and it has pretty much kept raining ever since!